Mini Italian Meatballs with Rustic Tomato and Alfredo Sauces
Natasha’s notes: “You can make the meatballs and the tomato sauce a day ahead. For the party, I recommend keeping the sauces hot in separate slow cookers with the meatballs swimming in them. Serve with toothpicks or forks with plates. For dinner with the family, pour sauce and meatballs over a pasta of your choice.”
2 pounds ground beef
16 ounces breadcrumbs
2 cups milk
2 cups parmesan cheese, grated
1 medium onion, chopped
4 ounces parsley, chopped
4 ounces garlic powder
4 ounces onion powder
4 ounces Italian seasoning
8 eggs, beaten
12 cloves garlic, roasted (Wrap foil around the cloves, making a ball and roast in 350 F oven for 10 minutes.)
Salt and pepper to taste
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
- Stir together breadcrumbs and milk until evenly combined. Let sit for 15 minutes while prepping everything else.
- In large bowl, use your hands to combine beef, onion, garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning, and roasted garlic.
- Gently stir in breadcrumb mixture. Add eggs, parmesan cheese, and parsley, stirring just until combined.
- Form mixture into small 2 ounce balls (or larger, depending on your preference.)
- In skillet on high, heat the olive oil. Sear meatballs on all sides to develop a crust.
- Finish in sauce for 8 – 10 minutes until meatballs reach an internal temperature of 165 F.
Rustic Tomato Sauce
2 ounces extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, roasted and sliced (Wrap foil around the cloves, making a ball and roast in 350 F oven for 10 minutes.)
48 ounces canned whole or diced plum tomatoes
3 sprigs fresh basil
2 ounces Italian seasoning
1 ounce garlic powder
1 carrot, diced small
1 stalk of celery, diced small
1/2 of a medium onion, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1 ounce butter (optional)
- In a large skillet, add onion, celery, and carrots. Saute 2-3 minutes until vegetables are soft.
- Add garlic cloves until you smell the garlic.
- Add tomatoes, basil, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder. Cover and cook on low heat for 1 hour.
- If sauce tastes acidic, add 1 ounce of unsalted butter to round out the flavors.
- Using an immersion blender or a food processor, process sauce until it has a smooth consistency.
3 ounces unsalted butter
1 clove garlic, roasted (Wrap foil around the clove, making a ball and roast in 350 F oven for 10 minutes.)
3 ounces flour
12 ounces milk
12 ounces heavy cream
2 ounces fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
2 ounces fresh Romano cheese, grated
Salt and pepper to taste
- Sauté the butter and garlic in a sauce pan over medium heat, stirring for about 1 minute.
- Add flour and create a blonde roux, consistently stirring for 2-3 minutes.
- Add milk and heavy cream alternately, continuing to stir quickly as you add to create a homogeneous mixture.
- Add Parmesan and Romano cheeses as the sauce begins to simmer, melting and incorporating the cheeses.
- Serve immediately with meatballs.
Mini Cinnamon/Sugar Biscuits with Strawberry Compote and Chantilly Cream
Makes 24-30 mini-sized or 12 large biscuits
You can make the biscuits and the compote a day ahead. To serve, Natasha suggests slicing open the biscuits, adding the cream and compote and closing them to make little sandwiches; or serve them open face, covered with compote and topped with the cream (will require forks).
2 cups all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons baking powder
4 tablespoons granulated sugar
4 teaspoons salt
12 ounces cold, unsalted butter
24 ounces whole milk or buttermilk
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 ½ cups sugar
- For best results, chill butter, flour, and mixing bowl in the freezer for 10-20 minutes before beginning recipe.
- Preheat oven to 425 F and line cookie sheet with parchment paper
- Combine flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in large bowl and mix well.
- Remove butter from freezer and use a pastry blender or a box grater to shred frozen butter into the flour mixture. Combine until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
- Add milk. Using a spatula or wooden spoon, combine – but do not overwork the dough. You can also use your hands.
- Transfer the dough to a well-floured surface and gently work the dough together. If too sticky, add a little flour.
- Once the dough is cohesive, fold it in half over itself and use your hands to gently flatten the layers together.
- Rotate dough 90 degrees and fold in half again. Repeat this step 5-6 times, but do not overwork the dough.
- Use your hands (not a rolling pin) to flatten the dough to a 1-inch thickness.
- Lightly dust a small biscuit cutter or mouth of a small jar with flour and, making close cuts, press the cutter straight down into the dough. Drop the biscuits onto prepared baking sheet no more than a ½ inch apart. Rework the leftover dough to cut extra biscuits.
- Mix the cinnamon and sugar together in a bowl. Gently roll the biscuits in the mixture and return to baking sheet.
- Bake at 425 F for 12 minutes or until golden brown.
1 pound strawberries, fresh or frozen
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3-4 tablespoons fresh orange juice
Orange zest (from ½ of an orange)
Salt to taste (about 1 pinch)
- Rinse strawberries if using fresh. Pat them dry, hull, and cut in half or quarter.
- Put berries in sauce pan and add sugar and juice.
- Bring to boil, then reduce to low heat and simmer until strawberries are soft and start falling apart and the liquid thickens (5-10 minutes)
- Taste and add more sugar if you prefer it sweeter (remember you are adding the compote to cinnamon/sugar biscuits!)
- Let the compote cool and transfer to a clean jar. You can chill the compote for up to two weeks.
½ vanilla bean
8 ounces heavy cream
2 tablespoons super fine sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract, clear variety
- Split vanilla bean lengthwise with the tip of a sharp knife. Holding the pod, scrape out the seeds using the flat side of the knife.
- Transfer the seeds to a large bowl and discard the pod.
- Pour heavy cream over vanilla seeds. Add sugar and vanilla extract (clear!)
- Whip with electric mixer until soft peaks form, 3-5 minutes.
- Cover with plastic and chill until ready to serve.
- To serve, spoon cream either inside or on top of biscuits or use a piping bag.